This tape is likely the best of the video library collection, the four episodes are all some of the best episodes of the series. "The Living Doll" is one of the spookiest, Telly Savalas stars as Erich Streator, a man with a bad attitude towards life and his family. When his wife brings his stepdaughter home with a "Talky Tina" doll, he objects to the price. His attitude worsens when the doll tells him "My name is Talky Tina and I don't like you"; his reaction is an attempt to throw the doll away. Streator then raises the point to his wife of their inability to have children and expresses other aspects of paranoia. As his mental state deteriorates, his actions worsen and soon the doll tells him, "My name is Talky Tina and I am going to kill you." The lighting, camera placement and dialog are excellent in this episode and Savalas is superb as a man on the verge of insanity. Yet, at the end of the episode you wonder if perhaps the doll is simply starting a career of mayhem rather than expressing an accurate opinion. "Judgment Night" is another tale of unusual purgatory where a man is forced to relive the anguish and pain that he caused others to experience. It is World War II and the English ship "S. S. Queen of Glasgow" is separated from the convoy due to heavy fog. German passenger Carl Lanser is aboard the ship and it is as if he has suddenly been dropped there. He remembers his name but has no other explicit knowledge of his life. As he interacts with the passengers, some memories come back and he demonstrates a great deal of knowledge about German submarines and their tactics when hunting ships. This raises the suspicions of the ship's captain and the passengers and the captain requests his presence for an interview. However, before that can happen the truth is revealed and Lanser understands the consequences of his actions. The consequences of aliens landing on Earth will be revolutionary and at this time no one knows what the global consequences will be. In "To Serve Man', Rod Serling takes a turn at dealing with this issue. The nine-foot tall Kanamits simultaneously arrive at several points on Earth and proclaim their goals as altruistic friendship. They provide a series of technological advances that end war and hunger and provide unlimited electric power. They also agree to begin a bilateral transfer, where humans are allowed to visit the Kanamit planet and Kanamits are allowed to visit Earth. When they first arrived, the Kanamits left a book written in their language and a team of American code breakers starts work on trying to decode it. After a short time they manage to translate the title, which is "To Serve Man." Since the characters used for titles are different from those used for interior text, the decoding continues. Finally, there is a breakthrough and as the head code breaker is about to board the Kanamit ship, his assistant shouts the actual contents of the book. By then it is too late and the head code breaker realizes that he is on a one-way journey. Damon Knight wrote the original story for this episode and Serling adapted it brilliantly for television. It also makes you realize that for beings as technologically advanced as the Kanamits; this may be the only value that humans would have for them. "In Praise of Pip" demonstrates what a great actor Jack Klugman was and it also shows a great deal of foresight. It was aired in September of 1963 and featured the prospect of an American combat death in South Vietnam. This was some time before the U. S. committed massive numbers of combat troops and when few Americans even knew where South Vietnam was. Pip is the son of bookie Max Phillips, played by Jack Klugman. When Phillips learns that Pip has been seriously wounded and will probably die, he suddenly sticks up for a young man being worked over by the head gambler and his thug. Phillips is shot in the abdomen but is able to get away with the young man. Seriously wounded, Phillips has a desire to see his son again, live through old times and do one last truly important thing in his life. Showing that despite all his faults, he was in fact an excellent father, he is able to do that. This episode is very rare for the time in that it showed unconditional and deep fatherly love; most of the expressions of love in television at that time involved the mother. It cannot be overstated how superb Klugman is in this role; this episode will always remain one of the classics of the series.
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